Gradient Project Space
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
・・・ #Repost @queerappalachia
I have a piece of art showing at The @smithsonian’s @hirshhorn opening this weekend. I am grateful to have the platform to talk about the opioid crises & Appalachian politics, especially where they intersect. We live in a time of digital news cycles & shorthand dog whistles like “Trump Country” that help keep #JDVance on the NYT bestseller list. It used to be every major media outlet had a “hot take” on Appalachia. Now, it feels like EVERYONE does. That’s why it’s important for Appalachians to make art & tell their own stories. On a personal note, opioid addiction & my body’s unique response to processing the Rx’s, Opioid Neurotoxicity has been the largest obstacles I have navigated in my life. Opioids help with my pain but I become untethered to reality. I live with a chronic debilitating painful auto immune disorder, pain management will be a huge part of my life the rest of my life. Trying to understand the treatment options that are available to me for pain management has meant that Opioid Neurotoxicity has been a predominate part of my life for the past decade . My relationship to opioids / how my body processes them has impacted every relationship in my life. Being able to make things has been the most healing & positive for me. From public art to homespun handmade work, making things helps me be present & in the moment. As an Artist that almost lost their life to opioids I support the work of @sacklerpain. PAIN has worked tirelessly to hold the Sackler family accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic as owners of #PurduePharmaceuticals. In the June @vanityfair interview with #DavidSackler, David said “the family’s philanthropy is being rejected”. ONLY @ prestigious cultural institutions. What David is really saying is no one will take our money that we want to give it to. The Sackler’s have never explored #opioidreperations. I get it, wings of international museums named after you is sexier than building back the communities that you profited from their literal #deathtoll.
TIME OF MIND
EXTENDED UNTIL AUGUST 11th
Artist Talk August 3rd at 5pm
An exhibition of works by Stephen Lawson
Opening reception May 25th, 6-9pm
as part of Thomas Art Walk – ArtSpring Edition
The photo-based works grow from my background as a sculptor. These are four dimensional in concept and execution, but only two in the presentation. The concept of space and time is reconstructed in the mind of the viewer.
Almost thirty years ago, I based myself in rural West Virginia in order to be involved in “Earth-art,” that is, art that uses the Earth itself as the physical medium of expression. My concern was in conservation, which required me to develop a non-intrusive and participatory means of working in and with the landscape. This led to work in a manner that required photo documentation, and then to the camera becoming the “central tool.”
The unique cameras required to produce these time based works have been constructed by me and evolved over the years, one capability leading to the next. The first “rig” was put together in 1980. These have been very labor intensive, built with simple hand tools, hard work and patience, the conceptual skills as with the manual ones deriving from a background in sculpture.
The work is presented in a poetic mode that asks one to stand briefly outside the usual flow of time, hopefully causing us to reflect on our “time-in-the-world,” individually, culturally, and even as a species.
Born in 1942 in Scotland, Stephen Lawson was raised in a beautiful, visually rich landscape, in some aspects similar to West Virginia’s, where he has pursued his interest in time and nature’s processes for the last forty years. To capture these images which evidence time’s passage, both momentary and extended over a year, has required him to construct cameras unique to their purpose. Despite the struggles of low-income rural living, his works have found their way to museums such as Eastman and the Victoria & Albert. This exhibition contains a lifetime’s work.